Coach Conley Chat Transcript: Sept. 14

Former Ohio State assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Bill Conley held a live chat session with subscribers Friday morning with most of the questions centering on the upcoming matchup between OSU and Washington. Here is a transcript of that chat.

CoachBillConley: Hi, welcome to the chat!

CoachBillConley: Any questions?

Nutty4Bucks: Hi Coach, is the weather supposed to cooperate tomorrow?

CoachBillConley: Believe it or not, there isn't supposed to be any rain with the temperature in the 60s.

MarkReaBSB: Hello from Seattle. Just so you know, it's typical Seattle weather here right now. Overcast and about 60.

CoachBillConley: I think that's a huge advantage for the Buckeyes because we have superior speed. With the exception of quarterback Jake Locker and Louis Rankin, we are faster at every position.

Nutty4Bucks: I forget – is Husky Stadium grass or turf?

CoachBillConley: The Huskies have FieldTurf, same as Ohio Stadium.

dijonbuckeye: Coach, Do you think Tressel open up the playbook this week or do you see a grind it out game run the ball and play good defense and try not to lose strategy?

CoachBillConley: I think the Buckeyes have definitely been holding some things back. It wouldn't shock me if you see Beanie Wells and Brandon Saine on the field at the same time with Saine in the slot position.

StolenList2003: Coach, what's up with the O-line? Seems like they haven't played very well so far. Is that accurate or are we missing something?

CoachBillConley: The offensive line, obviously, made progress last week in the eyes of the coaching staff. Jake Ballard was offensive lineman of the week and Jimmy Cordle was the offensive player of the week, so obviously they must have graded out well. Even at that, everybody agrees we've got to get more physical on the offensive line, especially in short-yardage situations.

StolenList2003: Thanks, Coach. I knew what the coaching staff said but I wanted your take. Thanks.

CoachBillConley: It's going to be important that the O-line comes to play against the Huskies because they have a very physical and aggressive front. I really think we have a chance to throw the ball downfield against the Huskies, but we've got to have great pass protection to do that.

rnichols: Hi Coach, I wanted to get your feelings on what Todd Blackledge said on Colin Cowherd's radio show this week. It was something to the effect that Oregon is more talented that every team in the Big Ten. Do you think this is true?

CoachBillConley: That's a ridiculous statement about Oregon. They are a good football team with a very productive offense, but there's no way their defense matches up to the defense of the Buckeyes and probably another three or four teams in the Big Ten. Todd Blackledge was a quarterback. His defensive knowledge is rather limited.

rnichols: Do you think Jon Skinner or Kyle Mitchum play this year? If so, when?

CoachBillConley: I think Skinner will play before Mitchum. Kyle still doesn't look like he's ready.

rnichols: Do you see Ray Small having a big impact this weekend?

CoachBillConley: I think Ray Small will definitely play, and as long as he stays healthy he could be a difference-maker. It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff decides to also use him as a returner this week.

LamaielBuck: Do you see the Washington DL giving our OL problems on Saturday?

CoachBillConley: As mentioned, I think they are physical and aggressive and they are coached by former Buckeye Randy Hart, so I know they will be ready to play. I think if we can get the ball on the perimeter, we have a chance of making some big plays against the Husky secondary. I don't think the Washington corners and safeties are very physical, but as you mentioned we need to be able to control the line of scrimmage to be able to move the ball.

StolenList2003: In your "Six Points To Victory" today, you mentioned that Washington's CBs were a weakness of their offense and don't like to play man. Do see Brian Robiskie having another day like he did against Youngstown?

CoachBillConley: I think Robiskie, Hartline, Small and Sanzenbacher can all have a good day as long as Todd has time to throw the football. Remember, Washington was picked to finish ninth in their conference, so even though they're an improved football team they haven't gone from the outhouse to the penthouse already. The bottom line, I think their defensive front is good. I think their linebackers are above average and I think their secondary is suspect.

BillArmstrong: We have seen little or no play-action this year. Maybe instead of running the ball up the gut every time we should try getting the ball outside to Beanie or Brandon.

CoachBillConley: Most of the play action this year, so far, has been out of single-back sets with boot type of action by the quarterback. I really think the offense will like to establish a good I-back running attack, which really helps play action. When you are in a spread offense, you don't have many play-action passes available except faking to the one back who's standing next to the quarterback. Washington does a pretty good job on the spread of showing some play action and then sprint action off of it. But the best play action is off of I-backs if you can establish a good running attack.

LamaielBuck: I haven't heard much about Washington's WRs and RBs. Any legitimate threats there in terms of breaking a big one?

CoachBillConley: The two big playmakers are the quarterback and tailback. Tailback Louis Rankin is slippery when wet or dry. He is truly a scatback that can make a big play every time he touches the ball. We are definitely going to have to swarm to the football and hopefully make him put the ball on the ground. He does have a tendency to carry the ball loose. Washington doesn't seem to have a deep passing threat. As a matter of fact, two of the three deep passes I have seen Locker attempt were terribly underthrown. He's very good at the short and intermediate passes, but not the long ball.

SusanZ: Good morning from Seattle. Just got back from breakfast. Interesting as I enter the chat that Locker is being discussed. The Cheesehead and I just heard some Husky fans jawing about how Locker is the next two-time Heisman winner. What do you think, Coach? Will Locker win the Heisman?

CoachBillConley: The chances of Jake Locker winning the Heisman twice is like betting Barbaro returns from the thoroughbred grave to win the Kentucky Derby – again. He would have to really improve (Locker, not Barbaro) as a passer to win a Heisman Trophy. With the Huskies' schedule, just in the month of September with Ohio State, Southern Cal and UCLA, he may be lucky to see October. I hope you had some salmon patties for breakfast!

LamaielBuck: As much as every one has talked up Washington recently, I feel it's forgotten that they are probably unranked for a reason. I'm still holding on to the idea that OSU is still running vanilla on offense and will let loose on Saturday. We'll see I guess.

SusanZ: That's what I'm thinking, Lamaie. How about you, Coach? Are we going to be surprised tomorrow?

CoachBillConley: I'm sure we'll see some new offensive sets and some different uses of personnel as compared to the first two games.

SusanZ: Coach, I'd like you to know that I thoroughly enjoy listening to you on 610 after the games. It sure makes the 2-plus-hour drive back to Sandusky a lot more fun, especially when the Buckeyes win and Michigan loses. Maize and BooHoo!!! I laughed out loud on that one after Appy State.

CoachBillConley: Glad you like the show. It's a long day doing a kickoff show in the morning and a call-in show in the evening, but it's fun. Also, Mark Rea has some great comments each week when we ask him to call in.

SusanZ: Well, you sound very energetic and your passion for the Buckeyes really comes through. I missed Mark's call. It must've come right after I arrived home. 610 only comes in on my car radio that far north. Next home game, I'll sit in the garage and listen until I hear Mark. ;)

SusanZ: Coach, do you think any of that "signal stealing" occurs in college football and if so, any teams you've ever suspected? I remember when the Wisconsin coaches stole an Illinois play book from the visitor's box at Camp Randall a few years back.

CoachBillConley: I think during the game, you try to pick up who the main signal-caller is. Most of the time it's not worth the effort because teams normally have one to two "dummy callers." The one thing which is each to pick, however, is the person making the personnel grouping call with hand signals. That allows you to get your own personnel on the field quicker. As far as I know, nobody has ever tried to videotape the opponent like the Patriots.

SusanZ: With the smaller video cameras and cell phone video cameras, I suppose it would be pretty easy these days to do that.

CoachBillConley: I guess if you really wanted to, you could at least get a picture. The problem is you'd have to then go back and interweave those with the film to try and figure it out. But that would be after the game is over. Probably way too much wasted time.

StolenList2003: Coach, what no one seems to be talking about is the fact that this is the team's first road game. Tough place to play to say the least. Your thoughts about the first road game so far from home?

CoachBillConley: Good question. Husky Stadium is about 70,000-72,000 and it can get loud, but not as loud as some other stadiums, especially in the Big Ten. It will be slightly intimidating for the young guys to play their first road game so far from home. It's crucial the older kids show poise and confidence that will rub off on the younger players.

SusanZ: Husky Stadium isn't sold out and from the looks of the sea of scarlet and gray, the Buckeyes are going to be making a lot of noise, too.

CoachBillConley: For Ohio State players, usually after a quarter all of the emotions tend to settle down.

Folanator: Coach, what will be the first play run or pass? And do you think we are going to go 4-5 spread and try to open up the run game that way?

CoachBillConley: We may go with a play-action pass, maybe from a two-tight end set. Possibly boot type of action. We don't want the Husky front to be able to tee off the very first play. Possibly even a quick screen will be a good play to start. That would put our talented receivers one-on-one with their secondary right off the bat.

Folanator: What are you expecting from Beanie? Do you think he will get his mojo back? Seems like he has been not really fired up so far.

CoachBillConley: I think Beanie played much better against Akron than he did against YSU. I think now that he's been back in the heat of battle and taken a few licks, he's gaining some confidence. I also strongly believe that when you have a running back with the abilities of Brandon Saine breathing down your neck, it makes you perform to the next level.

RedondoBeachBuckeye: Hi Coach Conley. From a layperson's perspective, Coach Tressel really is enchanted with the tail back up the middle play on first down that seems typically to not provide high value (two yards or fewer). Why is that play so hard to execute and since it appears to be hard to execute it, why is he so enchanted by it? It seems to leave the offense constantly behind the chains. Thanks.

CoachBillConley: Most teams would like to start with a running play just to get the bugs out. You make a great point in the fact that if it doesn't get at least three yards, you find yourself in a second-and-long. Most coaches just have the tendency to call a play and run it without going through a check play to start the football game. A little bit of a security blanket.

SusanZ: Is Mark moderating or is that an impersonator?

MarkReaBSB: It's me.

CoachBillConley: Mark is floating on a raft in Lake Washington right now, probably sipping a pina colada as we speak.

MarkReaBSB: Little chilly this morning for the raft ... but the other part sounds good.

SusanZ LOL. It's not that warm right now and pretty cloudy, but more power to Mark if he's floating on a raft. Oh, I see him out there in the harbor. Hi, Mark!

CoachBillConley: Ok, it's time for me to go finish the rest of my game plan. Go Bucks! Beat Washington! See you in the end zone!

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